Showing posts from 2019

The Family Homestead Archives #3 - Calculating the Cost & Budget Friendly Beef Stroganoff

Calculating the Cost
After making tonight’s low cost meal I thought I would share how you calculate the cost of food items that are a little trickier to figure out.I am referring to things like pasta, rice, beans, do you determine what a cup of pasta or beans cost?You will need a small scale to do this.Having a scale in the kitchen is very handy.I bought a small postal scale from ebay years ago and have put to good use!

The first thing you need to know is the price you paid for your item and how much it weighs.Let’s use pasta for this example (I had to do this today to calculate how much I spent on my dinner, so it is an easy one for me to share).I bought a 10lb box of whole wheat elbow macaroni from my food co-op Azure Standard.I paid $21.35 for it.The next step is to find out is what 1 cup of dry elbow macaroni weighs.I put it on my scale and it weighed 5.4oz.

There are 16 ounces in one pound so I multiplied 10 pounds by 16 which is 160 ounces in 10 pounds.

Strawberry Cranberry Jam - Newest YouTube!

Good morning friends! In my newest video I show you how to make my favorite jam, Strawberry Cranberry Jam. My family really enjoys this jam and if you make it I hope you do to!

Strawberry Cranberry Jam  Makes approx. 13 half pint jars
3#’s frozen strawberries  12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries  1T lemon juice  2 boxes pectin  1t butter  8 cups sugar 
Put strawberries, cranberries, lemon juice, pectin and butter into a large, 6 to 8qt, stock pot. On medium heat slowly bring to a boil. Stir to prevent it from sticking. Simmer and stir until fruit breaks up. If you want to hurry the process you can use a stick blender to smooth it out, or leave the fruit a bit chunky, the choice is yours. Turn up the heat to high and add sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring it all to a hard boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down) and boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Fill half pint and/or pint jars. Put new lid on, ring on and put…

The Family Homestead Archives #2 - How to use 10lbs of Chicken

The Family Homestead Archives #2 *********** 
How to use 10lbs of Chicken

On a recent trip to the grocery store I found 10lb packages of chicken quarters (these are the leg/thigh pieces) on sale for an exceptionally good price. I bought 3 packages of them. I put two in the freezer and cooked up the remaining package into meal starters. A meal starter is simply something that has been prepared ahead of time to make your cooking time go smoother and more quickly. 

This month I thought I would share some basic info and recipes on how and what to do with a bulk amount of chicken.

There are a couple of different ways you can cook the chicken. I have put all the chicken into a roasting pan with chopped up veggies, covered it with a lid or foil and then let this cook for several hours at about 325 degrees.

The easiest way and my most common method is to simply boil it. Doing it this way means you will end up with some yummy chicken broth.

To boil the chicken you will need to put the …

Beautiful Fall Days!

Hi Friends!
My latest video is out :) Come and spend a little time with me on my homestead enjoying some beautiful fall days!

The Family Homestead Archives #1: What to Do With 25 Pounds of Beans

A couple months ago I closed down my original web site, The Family Homestead. It was a financial decision and the traffic to the site was small. However, since closing it down I've had requests for recipes as well as having many people tell me that they miss the old site. Since I have a copy of the site on my computer I have access to all the recipes and articles. 

I have decided that periodically I will post some of those recipes and articles. I'm going to start by doing it on request. So if you have been looking for something on the old site, please let me know so I can repost it here.  

I will be calling this series, The Family Homestead Archives.. 

Crystal :)


Grocery Budget Helps: What to Do With 25 Pounds of Beans?
Crystal Miller

I love being frugal and keeping close tabs on my grocery budget and eating beans is one way I keep things in check. I was inspired to write about how to use a bag of beans when a woman on my message board …

I'm Back! With a Little Change Up

Good Morning Friends!
I've really enjoyed having a few weeks off. It's been a wonderful break and just what I needed.
Life on my homestead has been busy with fall things. The season for building fires each morning is here and I'm loving the cozy mornings and beautiful fall days. It's given me a lot of time to think about the direction of this blog and the direction I want to go.
When I stopped blogging and took my break I wondered if maybe I was done with my time online. But I realized that I missed it! I missed the interaction and friendships and most of all I missed the opportunity to do the one thing that has always been on my heart, encourage others.
However I knew I wanted to do something a little different. So I started or maybe I should say I have rebooted my YouTube Channel. I have more time now in my life to devote to this and my goal is to post regularly on YouTube. Twice a week is my current goal and if I get more comfortable with the filming of things a…

Good Morning Friends! Changes Ahead

I am home now and my new grandson arrived safe and sound. We also got to visit with our other daughters and grandsons and that was a blessing to us.
It was also a very long drive in a short time. We drove down to an area in California right outside of San Diego. That was over 1000 miles of driving to get there. We drove around a lot while we were there. Then headed home. In all we drove 2500 miles in one week.
All that time driving gave me a lot of time to think. My husband and I have some changes coming in our life and a lot of preparation to do for this.
I've decided that I need to take a blogging break for a few weeks.
I made my very first blog post in December of 2005. Seems crazy to me that I've been blogging for this long. By December of this year I will have been blogging for 14 years. I started my website the year before. I've had a 15 year presence on the internet and I do feel an extended break is in order for me at this time.
My goal is to come back at some poin…

Canning Salsa

The end of summer always meant a lot of tomatoes for me. I would plant somewhere around 30 roma type tomato plants and that would yield a lot of tomatoes each year!  Each year salsa was always on my list. 

A friend of mine (Leah) gave me her tried and true salsa recipe and we loved it. It was the recipe I used over and over again.

Salsa for Canning…
10 lbs tomatoes, chopped
6 medium onions, chopped
3 cups bell peppers (any kind), chopped
12 jalapeno peppers, chopped and seeded
5 chili peppers, chopped and seeded (this will make it spicy or milder, depending on the peppers you choose)
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/3 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp lime juice
3 cans tomato paste (the bigger cans, not the tiny ones)
Combine all ingredients except tomato paste in a large stock pot. Simmer approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and mix well. Simmer another 20 minutes or so. At …

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing has always been a favorite at our house. For many years I made my own. It's easy to make and a good frugal alternative to buying store bought.

I have a couple different ways I want to share on how to do this. 

One is mixing up a batch as you need it and the other is making a powdered mix to have hand when you want a batch. 

For starters here is my basic ranch dressing recipe..

Ranch Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise ½ c sour cream ½  cup milk, buttermilk is fine too 1 T lemon juice 1 t. onion powder ½ t. (slightly heaping) minced garlic, I buy the kind in the jar 2 t. parsley dash dill weed ½ t. salt ½ t. seasoning salt dash of pepper
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Allow to sit in fridge for a little while to thicken and allow flavors to blend.

When my kids were at home I use to mix this up in bulk. I would quadruple the recipe and make it in my Bosch (or Kitchenaid) mixer.

I would add the mayo and sour cream to the mixer and mix to combine, then add the liquid ingredients and mix until…

Zucchini Pineapple for Canning

Garden season usually means a lot of zucchini! I am forever looking for ways to use it and preserve it. This recipe was a favorite of mine. **************************************
If you have an abundance of zucchini or yellow squash this is a great way to use it up!  Zucchini pineapple can be used in place of crushed pineapple. I also mix it with equal parts bbq sauce to go over meatballs, meatloaf or chicken. It can also be mixed into fruit salads. Lots of possibilities!

(I had a large amount of yellow summer squash and that is why mine is all yellow in color.  If you use zucchini you will have green specks and that is ok too!)

8 quarts grated zucchini
1 #10 can pineapple chunks in juice
6 cups sugar
3 cups lemon juice

Combine all ingredients (do not drain pineapple).. heat to a boiling, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Ladle hot mixture into hot pint jars and can in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Use in place of recipes that call for crushed pineapple.
This will make approx. 15 p…

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

This is another favorite from The Family Homestead that I wanted to share with you.
Although fall is a ways off, it's not to early to be thinking of quick warm breakfast foods. Homemade Instant Oatmeal is easy to make and frugal as well. I made this quite often over the years for my family and it is great to have on hand.  This recipe makes a lot but would be easy to cut in half as well. It will fill a one gallon container. Below the recipe are pictures to show you how to make it.

Instant Oatmeal Mix
Crystal Miller

20 cups quick cooking oats
2 cup powdered milk
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon salt

Take about half of the oats and run them through a blender or food processor to make them smaller… you don’t want flour though! Then mix with the rest of the ingredients. I put this in gallon size jar for storage. This is much easier to use with a big family than little packets. Little packets of things just do not work at my house! For serving we do not really measure this. We sco…